Tam Quach, Ph.D. – Balancing the B cells

Tam Quach, Ph.D. – Balancing the B cells

An important cell in the human body’s immune response arsenal is the B cell, a white blood cell that fights infection by producing antibodies. However, if the B cell’s stability (homeostasis) is disrupted, some of the cells may produce auto-antibodies causing the immune system to mistakenly attack one’s own cells.

Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) inhibitors as well as biologic anti-inflammatory agents are effective treatments for inflammatory arthritis. In some cases, these treatments alter B cell stability and due to the presence of auto-antibodies some patients develop secondary autoimmune conditions such as lupus. Tam Quach, Ph.D., an instructor in the Department of Autoimmune Diseases at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and an ANRF scholar, is conducting research to establish how these treatments can lead to the disruption of B cell stability.

Understanding the mechanisms that cause treatments to result in a secondary condition such as lupus will help researchers develop preventative therapies for patients on TNF inhibitors or biologic anti-inflammatory treatments. In addition, data will assist with the building of predictive models to assess the risk of using these treatments in autoimmune patients before starting any therapies.

Dr. Quach believes the ANRF grant she received is allowing her team to make inroads towards their objectives as they have identified pathways through which B cell stability is impacted by TNF deficiency. The team has also effectively recruited patients needed to take the next steps in their research. This progress in her research allows her to continue to apply for additional funding as her research project grows, ensuring the the strong foundations the ANRF grant has allowed her to establish will continue and progress.

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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